It’s been a difficult couple of years, but hope is on the horizon, and your dream move is once again within reach.

COVID-19’s iron grip on our lives is loosening, which means you’ll one day be able to move abroad without any restrictions. In fact, the introduction of vaccine passports means that time may be coming soon.

With that in mind, welcome to the 2022 edition of our Best Countries ranking, which sees us rate nations on gender, racial and LGBT equality, economic conditions, quality of life, environmental strategy, happiness, and how well the government provides basic services.

Pick your favourite, and don’t look back – after all, 63% of expats increase their disposable income after moving, and 67% enjoy a higher quality of life in their new country (source: HSBC).

When inspiration strikes – or if it already has – you can fill in this form to get the best quotes on shipping your possessions to your new home.

The Best Countries to Move to in 2022:

1. New Zealand

people on horseback in new zealand

Having moved up five places from our 2021 rankings, New Zealand tops the standings this year for all the reasons you’d expect.

This island nation of stunning landscapes and political stability boasts an excellent quality of life, high scores on racial, gender, and LGBT equality, and a progressive government that provides for its citizens.

We’ve ranked it the sixth-most liberal country in the world, and the ninth-best for women, so it’s no surprise that 90% of expats in New Zealand would recommend their new home for its quality of life.

Expats in New Zealand also have a more positive outlook on the future than expats in any other country, according to HSBC’s 2021 Expat Explorer survey – and why not, with all of these advantages.

More than 286,000 UK expats currently live in New Zealand, according to the United Nations – and it’s clear to see why.

2. Switzerland

a town and river in switzerland

Last year’s winner has dropped a place, but remains a wonderful spot for expats.

Switzerland features beautiful pastoral landscapes, world-class ski slopes, and the best chocolate in existence – and that’s not all.

As well as exciting the senses, the nation is also a model of good governance, comes with a reliable, successful economy, and boasts an excellent universal healthcare system.

It’s a special country that can place third in both Yale University’s 2020 Environmental Performance Index and the 2021 World Happiness Report, and finish first in HSBC’s expat survey.

Plus, 92% of expats in Switzerland are confident that their chosen country will be stable over the next 12 months, which takes the stress out of making plans. You could, for instance, hop over the border and go exploring in France, Germany, and Italy.

It’s also an extremely Brit-friendly location. You can make connections with 46,000 other UK expats, and English is widely spoken across the nation’s 26 cantons – so don’t miss the chance to go Swiss.

3. Australia

great ocean road in australia

An enormous 1.3 million people from the UK live in Australia, which has risen four places from last year’s rankings.

This explorer’s paradise ranks second in the world for air quality and access to higher education, as well as fourth for personal safety – so forget all those horror stories about spiders and scorpions.

Australia also placed 10th in our rankings of the most liberal countries, and this approach has helped the nation come closer to racial equality than any other country – though of course, problems remain.

You can also look forward to free, high quality healthcare, as well as a plethora of incredible sights – from the mind-blowing Great Barrier Reef to Uluru and the wilds of the Outback.

If you want your kids to grow up surrounded by opportunities to explore nature and meet a massive variety of animals, consider taking the yellow brick road to Oz.

You can go surfing after work, and spend your weekends walking around one of the nation’s many breathtaking national parks – and you won’t worry about inclement weather.

Australia enjoys around 3,000 hours of sunshine per year – double the amount Brits get.

All of this contributes to expats here possessing the second-most positive outlook in the world, behind those in neighbouring New Zealand.

4. Canada

a view of lake louise, in banff, canada

Canada is a politically and economically stable nation that welcomes expats like few other countries.

The majority of Canadians believe there should be more immigration into the country, while an overwhelming 84% say the economic impact of migrants is positive, according to a 2020 Environics Institute study.

Canada is also a generally tolerant place – it’s the best country for LGBT people, according to our rankings, and the third-best nation for women, who make up a globally unbeatable 48% of Canada’s workforce.

Up one place from 2021 and home to more than 537,000 British expats, the Great White North is the perfect location for anyone seeking to settle down among friendly locals.

5. Netherlands

amsterdam, netherlands

The Netherlands is a new entrant on our 2022 list, reflecting its progressive attitude and rapid economic recovery from a pandemic-induced turndown.

Famed for its tulips, windmills, and revolutionary football – plus its 23 million bicycles, which outnumber people – the Netherlands is the second-best place in the world for women.

99% of people in this Western European nation say gender equality is important, and 90% view it as an inevitability, according to Pew Research – the highest figures of any country.

The Netherlands also came fourth in HSBC’s Expat Explorer survey, when you exclude countries where same-sex relationships are illegal.

It also has the highest English-speaking ranking of any nation where English is not an official language, according to the English Proficiency Index.

6. Norway

Lofoten, Reine, Norway

The most liberal country on Earth is better at providing for its inhabitants’ needs than any other, so it makes sense that it leads the Scandinavian trio breaking into this year’s list.

Norway boasts an unbeatable level of personal freedom, inclusiveness, and opportunity, according to the 2021 Social Progress Index.

You can explore magnificent fjords, gaze in awe at the Northern Lights, and even see polar bears in the wild, all while enjoying an eco-friendly culture that sees Norway source 97% of its electricity from renewable fuels.

And while it’s never easy to instantly make friends in a new country, the fact that you’ll be joining 20,000 other British expats should make the settling-in process easier.

7. Sweden

stockholm in sweden

Sweden is the best country for women, with a chart-topping 96% of Swedes believing gender equality is very important. There is even full gender parity in secondary school qualifications here.

The birthplace of ABBA, IKEA, and environmental activist Greta Thunberg is also the second-most liberal nation on Earth, and the second-best place for LGBT people.

There’s also a strict delineation between people’s work and their private lives – which helps to maintain an excellent work-life balance – and Sweden’s culture is more collectivist than the UK’s, meaning that views are sourced from all levels of a team.

And when you finish for the day, you can go exploring in a country with gorgeous architecture, picturesque forests, and just under 100,000 beautiful lakes.

Don’t worry about making friends, either – with 29,700 other British expats on these shores, you’ll have plenty of potential pals in the same boat as you.

8. Denmark

Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark

The second-happiest country in the world offers its people unparalleled access to justice, freedom of expression, and political rights, as well as a great working culture.

Working late is actively discouraged in Denmark, and all employees can take at least five weeks of paid holiday per year – and do so.

It’s common for workers to take off the last couple of weeks of July, according to the Danish government, which allows you to enjoy a stress-free summer holiday.

Denmark is also the least corrupt nation around, which means that despite paying higher taxes than most, inhabitants are happy to contribute – because they see the benefits.

They get to enjoy free universal healthcare, a free university education (and a stipend to cover living costs), subsidised childcare, and free care for the elderly.

Summary

Any of these countries would make a fantastic new home for you in 2022.

Maybe you’re looking for the competent governance and optimistic outlook of New Zealand, a warm welcome in Canada, or the Scandinavian happiness that comes from true work-life balance.

All you need to do is decide which one is right for you, and take the leap.

COVID-19 has killed millions and affected all of us, but that’s no reason to give up on the future.

When you’re able to move freely again, you should seize the opportunity. You can even receive specialist quotes for shipping your belongings overseas, just by filling in this form.